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Don Barbieri ’68 was appointed to the Washington State University Board of Regents in January 2015. He is the founder and retired chairman of the board and director of Red Lion Hotels, formerly known as WestCoast Hospitality Corporation and Cavanaughs Hospitality Corporation. Barbieri served as a member of the Washington State Economic Development Board under three governors and as chair of the State of Washington’s Quality of Life Task Force. He is a past chair for the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce, past chair of Spokane United Way, served as president of the Spokane Chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association, was president of the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, and chaired Providence/Sacred Heart Medical Center in some of its strongest growth years. He ran for Congress in 2004.
Barbieri led the redevelopment of over one mile of the Spokane River, including the historic Broadview Dairy, Red Lion Hotel at the Park, Red Lion River Inn, and the upscale Riverpoint and Upper Falls condominium developments. Through his efforts, the historic downtown Spokane Crescent building was transformed from a closed shell building to a centerpiece of downtown Spokane’s revitalization. In other regional work, he developed over four miles of Priest Lake, Idaho, through a state-of-the-art planned unit development called Huckleberry at Priest Lake, resulting in 90 percent dedicated open space and forest/wildlife restoration and conservation.
Since retirement, his efforts have been concentrated on the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, a charitable foundation with his domestic partner Sharon Smith. The foundation supports reducing poverty, expanding affordable housing, and fostering a more dynamic and powerful constituency throughout the Inland Northwest.